Friday, June 25, 2010

Blue and White

I find it hard to believe that almost twelve years have passed since I first installed the Blue & White garden at my home here in Seekonk. I can still remember the youthful exuberance with which I laboriously cleared brush with a pickax that first summer and the weight of the countless wheelbarrows I filled with debris. Now that I'm in my mid-forties I wouldn't consider undertaking such a back-breaking task. Having adopted the mantra that it's foolish to spend days on a chore that a machine can accomplish in a matter of hours, I'd hire a backhoe operator instead.

Although over the past decade my acre of land has evolved well beyond my original imaginings, in many ways the Blue & White garden remains my favorite part of the property. Partly this is because of its location near the field and river and partly it's because of the color scheme, which I still adore. Since the garden is set in what has become for all intents and purposes the back of the house, it is the last outdoor room that guests discover when visiting my home. At this time of year it remains barely visible until one reaches the edge of the checkerboard patio.

Even from the top of the stairs that lead down to the garden's mulched pathways the rectangular lily pond is concealed from view. Only the sound of splashing hints at the existence of a hidden water feature. Perhaps this slight element of surprise adds to its charm.

I've often wondered if it is the soothing color palette or the fact that the garden is set in the lowest part of my property that always seems to make the air feel cooler. If only I had the inclination to lounge on the bench beneath the arbor. Sadly, I find it difficult to relax in the garden. After a few minutes I invariably become distracted by a chore that requires my attention.

It's only when friends drop by that I take the time to simply enjoy the garden. For those brief moments I set my tools aside and try to view the garden uncritically as if seeing it through their eyes.

Maybe I should begin a new tradition and start making summer solstice resolutions. My first would be to spend more time savoring the fruits of my labors.

After all, in a few short months, the leaves will be turning and I'll be cutting the faded stems to the ground. So today I plan to pick up a book and go sit in garden and read. But first I have some snapdragons to plant and dahlias to stake.The roses need water and the daylilies are ready to be deadheaded and I really should mow the lawn again.....